There’s nothing like a Great American Road Trip! Back in the old days, you had to have a pile of cassette tapes to keep you entertained, paper maps, guidebooks, all sorts of notes and recommendations, and much more to be prepared for life on the road.
Today, planning a road trip is much easier with the power of mobile technology at your fingertips. This list of road trip apps will help you get the most out of your phone when it comes down to handy tools to support any adventure.
Apps are great but don’t forget that phones don’t always have data or even cellular signal if you go a little bit off the road. You will likely lose connection as soon as you enter less inhabited areas. Make sure to pre-download as much content as possible and use apps with an offline option.
I have highlighted all offline capable applications below so that rest assured you’ll hit the road prepared. There are so many neat apps out there, that this ended up being a massive post. To help you navigate we split the post into the following 11 categories:
1. Road Trip Planner
2. Planning & Packing
3. Maps & Navigation
5. Food Heaven
6. Save Money
8. Outdoor Adventures
9. Travel Journal
10. Games & Entertainment
11. Survival Tips
Without further ado, here is our ultimate top 40 road trip and travel app list to download for your smartphone on Android smartphone and iOS for iPhone.
1. Road Trip Planner – get ideas on where to go & what to do
Roadtrippers – Trip Planner
The best way to start your Roadtrip—before even hitting the road. Plan your trip, discover new places and find out what you’ll find there. There are millions of entries to explore—from local restaurants and diners to scenic points, parks and roadside attractions. Whatever you’re interested in, Roadtrippers finds it.
Lonely Planet Guide
The app is pretty easy to use; just download, select profiles that suit your interest and scroll through the feed. From there you can pick from a number of populated stories, many of which will come with maps, photos and information on tours and things you might want to check out.
Field Trip is a middle ground between Roadtrippers and Google Maps. It’ll show you points of interest based on your location and interests. There’s a really cool feature that allows you to receive notifications (about the history of the place, for instance) via your earbud speakers. Just listen. Love it!
Foursquare City Guide
Foursquare has the biggest database of things to do at a place. Whether sightseeing, cafes, restaurants, public transit, or pretty much anything else that could be of interest to you, this app has got you covered. Get lots of suggestions based on your preferences and see comments and reviews of a place.
SoloTraveller is a social travel app for everyone who wants to go on a trip but hasn’t found a travel buddy to join in yet. The app allows you to locate like-minded backpackers to go on a trip together. Solo Traveller is also great for single travelers already on a journey that wants to connect with other travel companions nearby.
2. Packing & Planning – Apps with the best tips before you hit the road
PackPoint travel packing list
If you fail at packing, then you need this app! It lets you create a packing list on your own or you can generate one by checking off items you want to include from a master packing list. PackPoint Packing List is useful if you have multiple destinations and are bringing along a few bags.
Trip Case – Travel Organizer
The TripCase app wasn’t only created for road-trippin’. Several of its functions are geared towards flight organization, but it still has some awesome features that road trippers can use to plan and organize adventures. Use TripCase to organize sightseeing visits, find restaurants and more.
Simple and super-useful weather app. Know the weather you’re driving into ahead of time or in real time. WeatherPro has a very good user interface that gives you access to accurate indications and warnings with a 7-day advance forecast. The basic application version is also ad-free.
3. Navigate & find your way – city, highway, off-road, outdoors
Google Maps – GPS Navigation & Transit
You probably have Google Maps already pre-installed on your phone, if not—get it. You can set a destination, turn on voice navigation, and it will tell you when you need to turn and how far you have until your next route change. Maps also offer a pretty neat offline functionality to guide you around, even offline. Just pre-download the area of interest. done.
Maps ME – Offline Maps & Directions
Maps ME is the best offline map app out there, the level of detail and the overall reliable and easy to use offline functionality make it the king of the offline map providers. Maps.Me includes all possible attractions, including statues museums, pharmacies, public transit stops, gas stations and more.
All in One Offline Maps
All in One Offline Maps is the king for topographic maps, it even beats Google and Maps Me in this category. Typographic maps are great if you go off road hiking or backpacking. It also includes classical road maps, aerial (satellite) maps, and allows you to layers maps on top of each other for the best possible accuracy.
iExit Interstate Exit Guide
This is the perfect app to use for the practical part of any road trip. iExit lets you know exactly what amenities are available at the next and upcoming freeway exits. You will know exactly what to expect from the next exit or which upcoming one offers you what you are looking for. Very easy to use and quite reliable.
Family Locator – GPS Tracker
Family Locator is an app that will keep your family and friends in the loop while you’re on the road or traveling. (You can also choose who of your friends or family members can actually see your location and who can’t.) Whether in the city, on a road trip, hiking or international travels, the Family Locator works worldwide.
4. Capture the moment – create the best photos & videos with Panorama 360 & Pixlr
Panorama 360 Camera & VR video
Panorama 360 is one of the most popular apps. You can take great 360-degree panorama shots for free. The app has over 5 million downloads and features a large community of users that are also passionate about panoramas. The app guides you step-by-step on how to take the perfect panoramic picture.
Pixlr – Free Photo Editor
Pixlr – Free Photo Editor is probably the no.1 smartphone photo editor. It offers an easy-to-use interface, and several editing operations such as resizing your photos, cropping, red-eye removal, whitening your teeth and much more. Share your photos on social networking sites like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
5. Eat, Pray, Love… and Eat again – Find great food locations with these foodie essential apps
TV Food Maps Trip Planner
Food Network and Travel Channel nerds, this app will MAKE your road trip. It shows you restaurants and eateries that have been featured on popular TV shows and let’s you plan your road trip around them. You can also filter set locations by the TV show and plan your entire US adventure around them.
After a long day on the road maybe you’re looking for some really good steak, a burger, noodle soup or a light blue cheese chestnut salad. Whatever it is, this app will be your road trip companion. It lets you choose where to eat based on specific dishes, and shows you photos of the food and their reviews.
Food app recommendation no.4. You can’t talk about food location apps and not at least mention OpenTable. With over 5 million downloads, you can be sure their database is full of food, specialties, preferences, locations, tons of delicious looking images and endless reviews on food and place.
6. Tight Budget? … Save money with the following apps on gas, buses, train & cars
GasBuddy – Find Cheap Fuel
This is hands-down one of the most useful and easy to use road trip apps ever. Gas Buddy is dedicated to helping you spend less on gas by showing you where the nearest gas stations are and what price they sell their precious fuel for. Great to use while you are traveling east to west, or just for day-to-day life.
Wanderu – Book Bus Train Tickets
No Car? No problem with Wanderu! The app is designed for the road tripper that is traveling without their car, (or maybe you just don’t like driving that much). You do you. Either way, this app will help. It lets you search through thousands of bus and train schedules to find the best deals.
Rentalcars.com – Car hire App
No Car? But need a car? The Rentalcars.com app has you covered. I personally find it is the best app out there in terms of finding the best deals on car rentals within the US. Rental Cars sources the most popular car rental services, including Hertz, Avis, Alamo, Budget, Enterprise and several others.
Radar Beep – Radar Detector
Radar Beep & Cobra iRadar are radar detector warning tools that use GPS and your data to show you where speed radar sensors are and help you avoid fines. The apps also feature map views of radar sensors within your area. They’re very easy to use; just install it on your phone and the app will find all the speed radar stations within your area.
AndroMoney – Expense Track
AndroMoney can help you keep your spending within your budget. It is a simple, easy-to-use app that lets you keep track of various purchases using built-in calculators and analyze your expenses using charts. It also lets you manage multiple accounts on one device. Perfect for on and off the road.
Goodbudget – Budget & Finance
Goodbudget helps you manage your finances using the envelope budgeting method without carrying around a stack of envelopes when you need to make purchases. The app can help you learn how to save for big purchases and actually put that plan into place so you can save for things with a big price tag like a trip or a new car.
7. Find the best deals on accommodation for your trip
Airbnb – Worldwide Destination Booking
In case you haven’t heard of Airbnb, using this app on the road gives you the opportunity to stay at people’s houses, apartments, lofts, studios, etc. The prices range from super cheap to normal to high. You are staying at real people’s places in great locations—on a coach, in a separate bedroom or take the entire place. Perfect for the budget travelers who like to cook their own meals.
Couchsurfing Travel App
Similar to Airbnb, except that with Couchsurfing no money changes hands (although sometimes you feel like you owe your hosts something so you still buy a couple drinks out or food, at least that’s how I always feel). Couchsurfing is great for meeting new people and going to new places on a budget.
Hostelworld – Hostels and Backpacking
Hostels are much cheaper than hotels or sometimes even Airbnb. Hostelworld has a huge database of hostels all over the States and the world. Hostels often have themes, community space to hang out in, kitchens for cooking and social spaces to get to know other travelers. Get the app, compare the rates.
Booking.com – Budget Hotel Reservations
Looking for some decent prices on hotels, B&Bs, hostels and other stays in’s? Booking.com has by far the biggest selection when it comes down to finding what you’re looking for. Within this app, you’ll also find detailed descriptions and high-quality photos and reviews so that you know what to expect.
8. Outdoor Adventures – places to visit & things to do on your trip
Geocaching – Treasure Hunt
Geocaching is a little bit like a scavenger hunt, only it’s GPS based. The app features a worldwide treasure hunting community and millions of containers. Wherever you are, just pull up your phone and see what you can find near you. There are tips, hints and instructions for geocaching & app use.
Sky Map / Star Walk 2 – Night Sky Map
Android’s Sky Map and Apple’s Star Walk turns your phone or tablet into an amazing stargazing companion that you can use simply by pointing it towards where you’re looking. You get access to a complete planetarium right in the palm of your hand. Both apps provide an amazing interactive star chart.
Passport – Your National Parks
Passport to Your National Parks is a digital passport companion app that references all of America’s national parks with its signature passport program. The app lets park visitors record their visits to participate in the stamp program, share photos and review parks. Just a great all around park finder app.
Dog Trekker / Bring Fido
Wouldnt it be great to bring your dog everywhere you go? If you have a dog you know how much fun it is traveling with your furry friend. Most stay in’s, B&B’s, hostels, hotels or restaurants; however, are not as dog and pet-friendly. With Android’s Dog Trekker and Apple’s Bring Fido you’ll find tons of dog-friendly locations.
9. Safe your trip – memories, people, tags, photos and videos while you’re on the road
The Traveler: A Travel Journal
This app is a great new way to document your entire trip. It has built-in Google Maps, uses code based off of Google My Tracks to record paths and excursions, allows you to snap photos of your adventures, place markers on maps and attach items to them, and replay entire trips later on through Google Earth.
10. Best Entertainment & Games Apps on the road and off the trail
Tune In Radio
You can spend a lot of time on the road during road trips with not much else to occupy your mind aside from the road. If you get bored listening to your playlists, you should try this awesome radio app. You can listen to real radio stations from all over the States and the world, plus podcasts and audiobooks.
Spotify allows you to store all your favorite songs in playlists so that they’re always -press play- ready. You can also check out other people’s playlists and discover interesting new tracks and songs every day. With the premium plan, you can download songs and listen to them offline. Btw, here’s one of my favorite playlists.
Got a few hours to kill before leaving the campsite or waiting for your check in / check out? Netflix is the answer. It offers a range of movies and TV shows you can enjoy at excellent streaming quality as long as you have access to reliable Wi-Fi (make sure your data is off when you run it). Best everywhere TV app!
Sometimes while you’re traveling or browsing on Facebook, an article will catch your eye but you don’t have the time to read it right away. The Pocket app was designed to allow you to save all website content that piques your interest as articles offline use later. You can come back to it when you hit a dead spot or to save data for your journey.
What If… Ultimate Question Game
The What If… app is a cool daring game that can spike some interesting conversations when played with others and some self-reflection when played alone. Ask casual, personal, challenging and crazy questions, and immediately see how other players answered! Perfect for long road trips or a bus ride.
Plates Free Family Travel Game / License Plate Game
This fun and family-friendly road trip game turn every long drive into a hunt, a hunt for plates 🙂 Players try to spot license plates from different States, as well as different cities. The first person to spot a license plate from a new State earns two points, and players who spot a different license plate earn one more, etc.
11. Survival tips for the outback wilderness and what to do in case of the apocalypse…
Army Survival Handbook – Offline Manual Guide
This is a Survival Manual that works completely offline. It contains info on how to make fire, build a shelter, find food, heal wounds and other useful content in case of an emergency. You can of course also use this knowledge during your road trip, outdoors, hiking, backpacking, camping and learning about nature.
Before heading out, you should also check out our post on the Top 30 Travel & Road Trip Gear suggestions.
General tip: It’s a good idea to make sure you’re not dependent on your smartphone or mobile data at any point during the trip. Pre-download as much content as possible for offline use.
In case you run low on storage, here is a good microSD we can recommend. For iPhone owners (sry no extension for you) use Google Photos instead. You can free up some storage by uploading all your images into your free photo cloud.
Did you find this useful? Please like and share below:)
Your outback gear and review team